Bethesda have taken a very original approach to the initial user experience for Fallout 3. Rather than trying to apply some sort of training scenario, they’ve made it so that your first baby steps in the game are just that… baby steps!
You start off at of right at the beginning of your life, your birth. Here you to pick your gender and your name. The player character’s Dad then shows you a device that will predict what you look like all grown up. This of course is the character selection. There is a downside that you have already seen that you have a white Dad, but anyway thats me just being picky.
Unfortunately the character creation itself leaves a lot to be desired. The hair styles are pretty novel and have great names, but with both my male and female characters I’ve not found one that I like. Its a touch disappointing to be honest. The actual UI itself isn’t particularly user friendly. They’ve tried to make it look like an actual futuristic device but it looks like an attempt at being futuristic from a 70s sci fi film, not a modern day game. Bit of a shame there, but the actual concept and delivery of character creation is an excellent idea. Everything has context and is a genuine part of the process of getting into the game.
On to the tutorial. As a one year old, you are exploring your play area, where you can learn various controls. After leaving your pen, you locate and read a book. The book describes various traits, all written as if for a child, and you can increase your base skill levels in these traits.
We then jump on nine years to the character’s tenth birthday. Here you are introduced to the conversations and learning how to interact with people, as well as getting your pip boy and a BB gun to have play with, which of course is your combat training.
Six years later you are taking a test to determine what job you’ll be doing. You then get a series of hypothetical scenarios with the question “what would you do?” This builds into defining three skills to receive a nice bonus.
Once all this is done the story gets cracking and you leave the Vault with a decent understanding of the game. I really warmed to the approach of teaching you various aspects of the game as your character grows up. Not only did it spread out the learning experience but you were slowly introduced to some of the story and had a chance to do some exploring along the way.
Naturally this approach won’t work for a lot of games out there, especially given the time it takes to go through this initial learning phase, building up to the escape. However for a role playing game it is a stroke of genius to grow up and learn with your character, defining who they are throughout the process.
Completion: Still early stages. Completed vault escape multiple times.